This image reflects the rainfall totals over the island from June 14 to June 21, 2006. Highest rainfall totals, on the order of 10 to 12 inches (300 millimeters) are red. The southernmost area of heavy rain is near the southern tip of Sulawesi and covers the higher terrain adjacent to Sinjai. Deforestation in the region is believed to be a contributing factor in the disastrous mudslides.
The image was created using data from the Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis (MPA), which monitors rainfall over the global Tropics. The MPA uses rainfall measurements from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite (TRMM) to calibrate rainfall estimates from other satellites.
TRMM’s primary mission is to measure rainfall over the global tropics. It was placed into service in November of 1997. From its low-earth orbit, TRMM has been measuring rainfall over the global Tropics using a combination of passive microwave and active radar sensors. TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency, JAXA.
Image produced by Hal Pierce (SSAI/NASA GSFC) and caption by Steve Lang